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Best of Three: Liverpool ice cream parlours

Things have taken a churn for the better

Published on August 6th 2013.

Best of Three: Liverpool ice cream parlours

MARGARET Thatcher was largely responsible for the creation of soft scoop ice cream; the sort you get snaking its way out of a Mr Whippy pipe. 

Before then, ice cream was the real dairy, unadulterated deal - but it dodn't go far enough. So Dr M's answer was to blow a lot of air into it, making the stuff on the end of your cone look a lot bigger.

“She was never a 99 gal,” hubby Denis would often snigger.

Margaret-Thatcher-Ice-Cream-580'She was never a 99 gal,' 
hubby Denis would often snigger
Except Maggie was a bit flaky. Her mind wasn't properly on the job in the Lyons Maid lab. The future PM was thinking about a different kind of milk-snatching as she worked.

Nevertheless, her team's cheap soft-scoop, with its xanthian gum, refined oils, flavourings and loads and loads of air, largely marked the end of a glorious trade pioneered by Italians. 

But now that's changing. Here are our best ice creams in Liverpool, tried last weekend. 

All are available in free taster spoons and in takeaway containers for home. The parlours will make all of them into milk shakes and sundaes too 

The proviso was all the ice cream had to be homemade with pure dairy ingredients, contain no additives and no rubbish.

Paolo and Donato's, Williamson Square, L1. 

'Vanilla containing more dark flecks than Cruella de Vil's Pac-a-mac'

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2815%29
The arrival of P&D's last year was first announced by Liverpool Confidential  and marked the birth of cool for Liverpool city centre – at least as far as home-made ice cream went.

It was quickly labelled Liverpool's most authentic Italian ice cream. Fantastico! But was there another? Not then.

What's the choice?
From one base flavour, come dozens of ever-changing varieties daily from sophisticated mocktails for big girls to bright blue Bubblegum for younger ones. And in between any magic they feel like making in the back. P&D's also make all the ices for Il Forno where Paolo is head chef and now they have an ice cream cart for chilling out on the move at special events. 

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2835%29
What stands out?

The rich vanilla, with its generous input of crushed pods, is not to be overlooked, containing more dark flecks than Cruella de Vil's Pac-a-mac.

The pina colada was a refreshing winner on a hot day and the chocolate had been given a proper kick of cocoa rather than sugar. The latter is worth mentioning: sweetness can occasionally dominate other P&D ice creams in the range at the expense the intended flavour. You might like that.

Gimme shelter
An outdoor awning keeps the Italian gelateria image alive and stops the cheeky seagulls nicking your cone. And worse.

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %282%29
Working it off

Williamson Square's pavement fountain feature is the ultimate kids' crowd pleaser on a hot day, as you sit contemplating your boules.

Price: £1.80 per scoop; £2.50 for two; £3.50 for three.

Late night chiller: Open to 5.30pm weekdays; 7.30pm Saturday and 6.30pm Sunday

Overall verdict: Lovin spoonfuls. 8/10

No 1 Queen Square 'The home of ice cream and sundaes', L1.

'The rum and raisin was away the best our testers had ever come across'

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2813%29
Liverpool city centre's newest ice cream parlour opened in April, courtesy of the Marriott Hotel, and frankly, it's not what you expect from an international hotel brand. The brainchild of head chef Matt Cox, all ice cream is made with their very own contraption.

What's the choice?
92 flavours and 44 sorbets - although not all at one time. Instead you will find more like a dozen being served in the open air chiller.

What stands out?

Madagascan Vanilla Latte flavour, they say, will make you do silly things faster with more energy. Malt Teaser (geddit?) was the coldest of comforts and the rum and raisin was away the best our testers had ever come across, with plenty of spirit-soaked fruit and a healthy restraint with the sugar spoon.

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2858%29
The range of toppings (for 20p) includes such marvellous baddies as Oreo bits, marshmallow, mint choc chips and meringue, plus a big range of saucy sauces too.

Warning: on a very hot day, it can all get a bit too melty rather quickly - and no one likes sticky stuff trickling down their right hand. Do they? However....

Gimme shelter
….Several white, wooden picnic tables, covered with sturdy parasols, will stop the drizzle both from the sky. It will also shade you from the sun's rays. 

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2811%29
Working it off

Located in hidden, quiet Queen Square, a place where few people will think of looking for you, there is a handy abstract sculpture that's good for climbing on and a table tennis set-up too.

Price: 1 scoop: £1.95; 2 scoops: £2.45; 3 scoops: £3.95.

Late night chiller: Open until 6.30pm, daily.

Overall verdict: Scoops to conquer - 8/10

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2852%29
Winner: Archers, Lark Lane, Liverpool 17

'Gin and tonic sorbet made with an entire bottle of Gordon's has to be the classiest alcoholic concoction seen in Lark Lane for many a year'

David, Sue and Nick Blair who own and run a successful Heswall parlour, opened their second Archer’s on Lark Lane in April. It's a small, award-winning franchise from the North East where all the milk and cream comes from an exclusive Jersey herd. Archers is included because they make all their own products here and have complete free rein with the flavours.

What stands out?
With toppings and add-ons galore, Raspberry Pavlova and Black Cherry were both packed with rich fruit that was fresh and clean and yet all foiled by a dense and creamy custard. Meanwhile, shards of Hokey-Pokey Cinder Toffee gave a crunchy throwback to sweets long forgotten. All were perfectly balanced and held together until the very end.

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2860%29
Nick's gin and tonic sorbet is made with an entire bottle of Gordon's (one scoop is equivalent to a shot) and has to be the classiest alcoholic concoction seen in Lark Lane for many a year.

Gimme shelter
With seating for 25 in the cool indoors there are a couple of outside tables to bake at.

Working it off
Thankfully, five minutes walk brings you to beautiful Sefton Park, one of the biggest (still) and best in the county. Otherwise the sugared-up youngsters might be daring one another to run into Keith's shouting, “Ey mate, your wine fridge is older than me owl fella!"

Best Ice Cream Liverpool %2824%29
1 scoop: £2; 2 scoops £3; 3 scoops £4 – although each was considerably larger than the others tried.  For the figure conscious they will also do hallf measures (pictured).

Late night chiller: Open to 8pm (Mon-Thur) and 9pm at weekends, it's the most authentically continental ice cream experience we came across - all making it a favourite after-dinner spot for that dessert course and coffee - or a date with a difference and two spoons.

Verdict: Nick's got it licked - 9/10

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. Critics dine unannounced and we picks up their bills - never the restaurant, never a PR company.

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6 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

99August 6th 2013.

Whatever happened to Critchley's ice cream vans?

1 Response: Reply To This...
veronica flakeAugust 6th 2013.

Good point, I liked a Critchley's ice cream.

AnonymousAugust 7th 2013.

She would have come up with burgers in a lab years ago

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