Was it the gorgeous weather last week? The calendar start of summer? School letting out? Whatever it was, frozen treats were high on everyone’s mind. Our Elite Eight contest garnered the most online votes of any round so far — and then there was the live tasting, too.

Last Wednesday, the midday crowds making their way through the Rotunda at the Shops at Liberty got a surprise post-lunch treat: Free samples from five of our finalists.

Capogiro was there scooping Thai coconut gelato and mango sorbetto; Franklin Fountain made a splash with local honeycomb ice cream; the folks from the nearby 15th Street Rita’s handed out mango water ice (the chain’s best-selling flavor, btw); Gran Caffe L’Aquila wowed with bacio gelato (light and dark chocolate with Italian hazelnuts); and Siddiq’s whole family came to help spoon three kinds of fresh fruit water ice — white grape, kiwi and strawberry daiquiri. Yeah, it was a party.

Hundreds stopped by to taste frozen treats in the sunny Rotunda at the Shops at Liberty Place
Hundreds stopped by to taste frozen treats in the sunny Rotunda at the Shops at Liberty Place Credit: Danya Henninger

We tallied up the ballots collected there, factored in the votes cast at our tables at Saturday’s Molestice festival and Sunday’s Burger Brawl/Taco Takedown, and added them to the online count to come up with the Final Four.

Some of the races were close, like the tug-of-war between the hand-dipped sweets from Weckerly’s and Franklin Fountain (the latter pulled ahead at the end and ended up 62 percent vs. 38). Some weren’t, thanks to the huge rallying of troops that pushed less-well-known Siddiq’s over national juggernaut Rita’s with 76 percent of the vote. World-famous Capogiro was a shoo-in, but L’Aquila showed well, coming away with 35 percent. And Philly Flavors’ multiple locations likely helped it cull more fans than Custard Cakes & Creamery, scoring a win in custard with 58 percent.

And here’s where it gets serious. Instead of just battling within their quadrant, each type of treat is now duking it out with something else. Will water ice triumph over ice cream? Is there a chance custard can beat out gelato?

All up to you. Cast your vote below.

Danya Henninger is director and editor of Billy Penn at WHYY, where she oversees the team, all editorial decisions, and all revenue generation — including the membership program. She is a former food...