Victory is sweet, but chocolate may be sweeter. Combine the two and you get something magical: a chocolate-covered victory party, a victory-charged chocolate party, or, as Pierson College Dean Amerigo Fabbri would have it, a chocolatey tribute to the greatest soccer team ever and winner of the 2006 World Cup, Italy.
A crowd of sugar-starved Piersonites gathered outside their dining hall last Thursday, struggling for first access to the chocolate fountains and tubs of gelato that lay inside. This, they knew, was the Pierson-Italy World Cup Study Break, an event to commemorate the tears shed, sleep lost, and tempers inflamed during the World Cup last summer — almost three months late.
But is the spirit of this past summer forgotten? Certainly not, according to Elliot Watts ’09.
“It’s never too late to celebrate,” Watts said.
Although Watts conceded that, for him, the chocolate fountains were initially the primary draw, he said Italy now holds a special place in his heart.
After all, what’s not to love? Free gelato and a friendly Italian dean are enough to make anyone pretend to be an Italian soccer fan. And according to the dean himself, prolonged victory celebration is consistent with the true Italian style. Apparently, last week’s celebration was still just the beginning.
“We will celebrate during the whole four years of Italy’s tenure as champions,” Fabbri said.
Fabbri said the party was a testament to the Italian love of food as well as football, pointing to the dining hall’s new espresso machine as well as the World Cup spread. When asked which were his favorite flavors of gelato, Fabbri’s response was instinctive.
“Pistachio, lemon and raspberry,” he said. “Colors of the Italian flag.”
Pierson Master Harvey “Master G” Goldblatt, echoed Fabbri’s sentiments. His amore for his Italian wife and his piacere for the Italian dean lend credence to Goldblatt’s assertion that Pierson’s love for Italy does not end outside the Dean’s Office.
“We tease each other,” Master G said of himself and Fabbri. “We find excuses to have these study breaks.”
Goldblatt — who led last year’s Pierson’s trip on a trip to Italy — stressed that the gelato served last week was the authentic Italian variety, and his favorite flavor is definitely chocolate.
Chocolate was also by far the more popular flavor in the room that night. Pasha Kamyshev ’09, a mathematician from Kyrgyzstan, was among many who cited it as an all-time favorite, partly for reasons of simplicity.
“I don’t like those tricky flavors,” Kamyshev said.
Despite his characterization of the party as “pretty good, to be honest,” Kamyshev did have his share of complaints. He said he wished the party had more healthy food options, and he said the lines for the chocolate fountains were too long.
Though the food seemed paramount in everyone’s mind, there were a few devoted soccer fans in the room as well. Stephen Dobeck ’10 said he rooted for Italy during the World Cup. He’s a true fan — he can name more than four players on the team. Besides Italian soccer, Dobeck’s interests include chocolate fountains, which were instrumental in his decision to come to this party.
Holding down the French fort was one Avi Gandhi ’10, who sported a hand-drawn t-shirt featuring the flag of France, Italy’s opponent in the World Cup final. When asked if he was a France fan, Gandhi responded with a simple “oui.” He said his decision to wear such inflammatory attire was motivated by a need to stand up to Dean Fabbri and “the man.” Referencing French team captain Zinedine Zidane’s controversial head butt to Italian Marco Materazzi’s chest during the World Cup final, Gandhi said “you have to be a wimp to fall from a headbutt.”
At this supposedly Pierson-only gathering, there were a few outsiders. Lisa Shull ’09, a student in Morse, said she was in Pierson for a meeting and decided to drop by. There was no one at the door checking residential college affiliation, so she managed to slip in without incident. Plus, Shull cares a lot about Italian soccer. Although she can’t name four players on the team, she thinks they are all physically attractive.
In our chaotic world, moments of peace are rare. But for one brief, shining moment, France fans and Italy fans put aside their differences, gathered under one roof, and, with gelato spoons in hand, indulged together in something more important than regional allegiance or even victory, something that unites us all: a love of good food.