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Jul 22, 2010 08:20 AM

Where in the world is Panzarotti? Why is so little heard about them?

I've been following the Stromboli vs Calzoni thread w/ interest. In my youth in NJ, I used to very much enjoy paszarotti, much like a calzone, but smaller, flakier crust and deep fried. Where else are they popular and why is so little heard about them outside the NYC/Philly area?

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  1. Wikipedia says their US epicenter is southern NJ. Ask Snookie. :-)

    1 Reply
    1. re: greygarious

      Snooki is a benny from New York and would know nothing about panzarottis. And if you don't know what a benny is you're definitely not from Jersey. :D

    2. I went to college at Rowan University (The Artist Formerly Known As Glassboro State College, about twenty miles outside Philly) and Super Sub had THE BEST panzarottis. I also have never seen them outside south Jersey. Alas, Super Sub no longer seems to exist and is now called Ciconte's--and seems to no longer offer panzarottis. :(

      1. Possibly because empanadas and arepas caught on earlier elsewhere.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Karl S

          KS, pansarotti are Italian, aren't empanadas and arepas Latin American?

          1. re: Passadumkeg

            Panzarotti are Italian-American from a particular part of the US. Empanadas, arepas and meat pies are Caribbean and Latin American and showed up more broadly in different urban and suburban areas of the US. I remember getting empanadas in the 70s on Long Island.

            Then there are chimichangas....

            1. re: Karl S

              We are saying the same thing. I learned Italian food growing upin Jersey (Bon Jovi & I went tio the same high school) and lived in Bolivia and New Mexico for 15 years.
              My question is why are calzoni & stromboli ubiquitious and panzarotti limited to mainly So. Jersey?
              Paisano Passadumkeg

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                I wonder if the advent of Hot Pockets, Totino's Pizza Rolls, and the like bumped them out of the wrapped-then-fried Italian ingredient niche. Pizzerias don't HAVE to have fryalators so the calzone approach makes sense for them. But there are plenty that also offer deep-fried foods, so it does seem like they would make the fried version if it sold well. Maybe people are more satisfied with Hot Pockets than frozen pizza.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I don't think that has anything to do with it. It's strictly a "south Jersey around Philly" thing. Kind of like only being able to get steamed cheeseburgers in a tiny part of Connecticut.

          2. Looks like, from the other thread linked by E Eto, that Galleria Umberto in Boston has them.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Steve

              And they were terrific. Also great arancini there.

              1. re: tatamagouche

                The panzarotti at Gallaria Umberto will not be familiar to those looking for a calzone like filled dough. Theirs is a herbed mashed potato log with mozzarella in the center, coated and fried, no dough involved. They're great, but not what most of you are thinking of.

            2. This is very interesting. When I was in college (late 60's) in--of all places--Dubuque, Iowa, there was a tiny counter place with maybe 6 stools that specialized in panzarotti. It was one of most wonderful pastries I've ever had. Flakey light crust, cheese/tomato filling. If I could have afforded it, I'd have eaten a dozen at a sitting. Never seen anything remotely like in the Midwest, then or since. Maybe this guy was an immigrant from NJ. Who knows.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Masonville

                I think as we travel, we're going to do a hunt for The Holy Panzarotti and report back. Funny, for a little state, NJ has a goodly share of special foods; the panzarotti, the NJ Sloppy Joe, the Italian hot dog, Taylor Pork Roll sandwiches and........

                1. re: Passadumkeg

                  Rhode Island is like that, too. Lots of local specialties.