For those who did not grow up in an Italian household, you may not think there's a big difference between a calzone and a stromboli. Both involve dough filled with some sort of meat and cheese, so they can't be that different, right? Well, I'm here to tell you that you're wrong. When considering the calzone vs stromboli question, there's a big difference. 

Calzone and stromboli are dishes that are a big part of my Italian family traditions—my family can't get enough of them. Although they can be confused by their similar looks, stromboli and calzones are as different in their appearance as they are in their taste.

Calzone (cal-zone-eh) 

Calzone with salami, roasted tomatoes, capsicum, spinach - The Lounge Downstairs AUD10 lunch including drink

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A calzone has one layer and is filled with ricotta, mozzarella, and Italian meats. Even vegetables such as broccoli and spinach are popular calzone fillings. The dough is folded into a half moon shape and baked until golden brown. They're best when they come out of the oven with the cheese falling over the sides. 

According to Waverly Root, a former American journalist and author of Foods of Italy (1971), calzone originated in the heart of Naples, Italy. Calzone, originally known as calzoni, translates to "pants legs." Pant legs refers to the idea that calzone is a form of pizza that a customer can get while walking around town and eat without utensils. The American calzone stems from the same traditions as the original Italian version that started it all. 

Stromboli (strom-bowl-e)


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Stromboli is an Italian pinwheel filled with cold cuts, various vegetables, and marinara sauce. A Stromboli is all about the layers. Since stromboli is a pinwheel sandwich, there is precision that goes into how many ingredients go into each layer. The type of ingredients and where they are placed in the dough of the sandwich matter. Stromboli needs to taste as good as it looks! 

Originating in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, stromboli is American born and bred. Romano's Pizzeria is credited with creating the world's first stromboli sandwich. In 1950, Nazzareno Romano, owner of Romano's Pizza, was thinking of something new to add to his pizza shop menu. His experimentation led to the creation of the sandwich we know and love today. 

Which is easier to make yourself?  

Calzoni are easier to make on your own than stromboli. You start with pizza dough, cheese, and any other ingredients you'd like to add. Fold the pizza dough over in half, like a half-moon, stuff it with your ingredients, and bake until golden brown. Making stromboli, on the other hand, is an art. Rolling the right amount of ingredients into each part can be challenging

Now that you know the differences between calzone vs stromboli, you'll never be confused when ordering from a pizzeria again. Though very different in taste, the two dishes do have one thing in common: they're a part of Italian food history and culture!