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Pizzas come in a range of styles, from light and fluffy Neapolitan style, to the thin and foldable New York style, to the deep and saucy Chicago style. But when is a pizza not a pizza?

Calzone and stromboli take standard pizza ingredients but fold the dough, placing the toppings on the inside. With pizza being the perfect invention, you may wonder why anyone decided to tinker with the format at all, however folded pizza possibly evolved as a way to make pizza more portable, enabling restaurants to make deliveries while keeping the food hotter, and better protected.

But what’s the difference between these two titans of folded pizza? We take a closer look.

What is a Calzone?

Calzone is the more common of the two on UK pizza menus, with most high street pizza restaurants offering at least a couple of calzones alongside the standard pizza menu. Calzone has the same birthplace as pizza – the Italian city of Naples – however it arrived in the 18th century, some 800 or so years later than standard pizza.

Related: A Short History of Pizzas

A calzone is made by folding a pizza base in half and crimping the edges, similar to the style used to seal a pasty, and is then oven cooked (although deep-fried variations do exist in places). Calzone fillings are generally similar to pizza toppings, with salami, pepperoni, vegetables and mozzarella the common favourites. Depending on the restaurant recipe, a spoonful of marinara may be added to the top of the finished product, or it can even served as hand-held street-food.

What is a Stromboli?

Stromboli is a similar ‘turnover’ style of pizza, which can often be confused with calzone. The main difference is that while a calzone is folded with crimped edges, a stromboli is rolled up into a cylinder, resembling the pizza equivalent of a Swiss Roll. Made using either pizza dough or Italian flatbread, it’s loaded with a thin layer of pizza topping, cheese and tomato sauce before being rolled. It can be served as a whole, but is also regularly served as slices alongside a spicy tomato tip.

Arriving in the 1950s, the dish is a more recent creation than pizza and calzone, invented by Italian-American restaurant owners looking to innovate on the traditional pizza experience. The invention is claimed by two different chefs, one in Pennsylvania and one in Washington, who both seek credit for the Stromboli. However, both share the claim that it was named after the 1950 Ingrid Bergman melodrama of the same title, which itself takes the name from a Sicilian volcanic island.

Calzone vs Stromboli

So there you have it. Although both dishes are types of pizza ‘turnover’, the main difference is that calzone is folded, whereas stromboli is rolled. Calzone hails from Naples, the home of pizza, whereas stromboli is a relatively recent invention, devised by the Italian-American community. Whether you prefer to order pizza, calzone or stromboli from your local pizza chain, you can be sure of delicious results, steeped in heritage.

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