The Biggest Differences Between A Calzone And Stromboli

Have you ever been in a pizza place, but somehow you just weren't in the mood for a slice? Or maybe you wanted something a bit less messy to eat on the go? You take a look further down the menu and see they offer a calzone, or maybe they've got a stromboli — either way, you know it's some kind of self-contained, dough/cheese/meat unit, and it's also bound to be pretty darn tasty. It's when you come across one of those fancy pizza joints offering both that questions may arise — just what the heck is the difference between a calzone and a stromboli, and which one should you order?

If you're super into authenticity, the calzone has a much more ancient, authentically Italian heritage. According to author Waverly Root's 1971 Foods of Italy, the calzone originated in Naples, and its name, translated as "pants legs," may have been meant to indicate its role as a portable version of pizza (via Eater NY). Dating back to the 18th century, the distinctive half-moon shape meant that it might actually have been formed by taking a personal pizza (which itself predates Pizza Hut by several centuries) and folding it over. The stromboli, on the other hand, is an all-American invention, first created in either Philadelphia (home of the cheese steak) or Spokane (home of... we have no idea, if not the stromboli) in the 1950s and named after a movie starring the then-notorious Ingrid Bergman.

Okay, enough with the history, what you really want to know is, what are the biggest differences between a calzone and a stromboli today? For this, we turn to the Chicago Tribune, which tells us that calzones are usually half-moon or football-shaped stuffed pizzas that can be deep-fried or baked, while strombolis are long rectangles of dough that are often rolled like jelly rolls before being baked. The experts on all things pizza at Hungry Howie's add that strombolis are more sandwich-like than pizza-like, and come filled with different cheeses and Italian meats like capicola or salami, while calzones come stuffed with classic pizza ingredients. When it comes to sauce, strombolis have it inside, and calzones are typically served with it on the side for dipping. 

As to which one is tastier? Matter of personal preference, can't help you there. In fact, the only way to really be sure is to order one of each — you know, for research.