Panzerotti are a popular street food, especially in southern Italy. They are small fried turnovers made of simple dough, usually filled with cheese, ham, and tomato sauce. However, you may also find other fillings.
The name panzerotti (singular “panzerotto”) reportedly comes from the Italian word “panza”, which means “belly”. The food is said to resemble a swollen belly with its puffed-up shape.
If you are a pizza lover, a reversed pizza called calzone, or simply melted cheese, then you will fall in love with panzerotti. It is a quick and tasty snack, the combination of crispy fried dough and warm cheese with other fillings is simply perfect.
Within panzerotti, you may encounter two different variations – the dough can (but doesn’t have to) be coated in breadcrumbs before frying. One small panzerotto filled with cheese and coated in breadcrumbs before frying costs 1 Euro, and I like to have it at my favorite Fratelli de Paolo bakery in Matera.
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In addition to small panzerotti, you may also come across much larger versions, which may resemble another Italian dish called calzone.
Difference between panzerotti and calzone
The fillings of panzerotti and calzone can be very similar, but you can reliably distinguish them by the method of preparation. Panzerotti are always fried, while calzone is prepared in a pizza oven and baked.
One large piece of panzerotto filled with cheese, mozzarella, and ham costs 1.80 Euros, and you can get it at a bakery with a similar name, de Palo, in Matera.
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Accommodation in Matera
I recommend trying out the accommodation in a traditional Sassi cave style. You will be right in the historic center, everything is new and clean, it's pleasantly cool here in the summer and the spaces are heated for the winter months. It's possible that you'll be hosted by a talkative bartender from a nearby establishment, who prepared mixed drinks directly for James Bond. The last time I stayed here was in January 2022 and I would love to return again.