Mark Toney ice cream is inspired by a traditional home-made recipe first created by a clever man called Giovanni Marcantonio. Giovanni lived in Picinisco, a small village in the Italian mountains, and clearly his beautiful surroundings inspired him to create delicious ice cream that would be around for generations to come.

In 1892 Giovanni made the long journey to Newcastle with his son Antonio, aged only 7. At that time many Italians were embarking on this brave step into the unknown, leaving family and friends behind to travel to far away places in an effort to improve their poor existence. Many travelled to America, and many came to England, sometimes walking huge distances to come up through Europe. Some who came by boat to Britain believed they were going to America, but were duped and landed on British and Irish shores instead!

Most of the Italians who came over at that time came from the same small part of Italy between Rome and Naples around the Monte Cassino area, and settled throughout the British Isles, many of them making it up to Scotland. Giovanni and his son settled in Newcastle because, as the story goes, they travelled from the south up country, and Newcastle was as far as their fare would take them!

Giovanni’s ice cream was soon bringing a taste of Italian sunshine to the streets and markets of Newcastle. At first he sold his ice cream himself from a handcart with the help of Antonio but his business grew quickly and he was soon able to employ a team of fellow Italians as street vendors while he concentrated on making his delicious ice cream.

Within a few years Giovanni retired back to Italy and his son Antonio took over the running of the business with his young Italian wife Angela whom he had met and married back in Italy. Antonio and Angela had seven children all of whom worked in the family business and as the family grew, so did the popularity and fame of their ice cream, and they were soon able to open their first Mark Toney ice cream parlour in the Grainger Arcade in Newcastle.
More followed, all serving the original ice cream for which Mark Toney had become famous. Our ice cream parlours and cafés have now become part of the history of Newcastle, with most Geordies having fond memories of being taken there as a child, perhaps for their first ever Knickerbocker Glory, or, later on, meeting special friends there! Giovanni’s great grandson Antony now continues the family tradition, so that a new generation of ice cream lovers can enjoy Mark Toney ice cream.
We are thrilled and proud that antonio’s wife angela is featured in the newcastle discovery museum exhibit "DESTINATION TYNESIDE". This exhibit follows the lives of various real people, including Angela, who made the journey from their original country to make a new life on Tyneside.

Discovery Museum