There’s nothin’ like a good Calzone. In Toms River, the pizzeria capital of Ocean County, you can get your fill of some great ones!
So what exactly is a calzone, by definition?
According to Wikipedia, the Italian word “Calzone” translates into Stocking or Trouser. Furthermore, this Italian turnover, was first created in Naples in the 18th century. A typical calzone dough stuffed and baked to a golden brown. Traditional calzone stuffing is mozzarella chees, ricotta cheese and ham or salami. From there, any calzone lover knows these days the sky is the limit. Meanwhile, after the filling is added, the dough is then folded in half over the filling and sealed with an egg mixture in a half-moon shape, or is sometimes shaped into a ball by pinching and sealing all the edges at the top. It is then either baked or fried. Here in Jersey, they are served with marinara or another traditional sauce, or with a mixture of garlic, olive oil, and parsley.
Fond memories of calzone eating.
Personally, I grew up on calzones. They were as much a part of the weekly trip to our local pizzeria, John’s Pizza in Bergen County as was a large pie or an Italian Hero. Yeah we called ’em heroes back then, for whatever reason. Anyway, those baked calzones, were decent size, however I remember them being manageable. The filling was always mozzarella, ricotta, and ham. Plus a side of sauce.
Then in the early 90s I was working at a radio station in Hackensack, and my Program Director kept raving about this calzone he would get every Tuesday at this Italian deli down the street. One Tuesday I joined him to pick up a couple of calzones. What I saw I couldn’t believe. The guy behind the counter was deep frying his calzones! They were smaller than the ones I was used to, and more round like the size and shape of a softball. My God though, when they came out of that fryer and we got them back to the office, they were melty and amazing. I think my cholesterol went up 100 points that year.
Like with many things in the food world, size matters. Moreover, while prices go up, portions tend to shrink. However not with calzones. Over the past couple of decades I’ve noticed that the size of these things has gotten enormous! Furthermore, in some cases it looks like they just took a pizza and folded it in half! Is bigger always better though? Let’s find out, here are some of the best rated calzones in Toms River, in no particular order. They have all just been rated highly on both social media and foodie webpages over the past year.