The East End got a little bit sweeter this winter when Disset Chocolate opened its virtual doors. Based on the North Fork, the newly founded artisanal small batch chocolate company is helmed by Ursula XVII, a Michelin-trained pastry chef and chocolatier who has envisioned a unique business model akin to the seasonal runway looks at New York Fashion Week.
A New York City native of Catalan heritage, Ursula was trained in the art of sweets at The French Pastry School in Chicago, at Michael White’s Michelin-starred Ai Fiori and under European masters Albert Adria, Oriol Balaguer and Jordi Ferrer. She then headed the pastry team at Spain’s Ca L’Enric, acted as assistant pastry chef at New York’s Mohonk Mountain House and, finally, found herself working alongside local legend Claudia Fleming at the North Fork Table & Inn. And it was Fleming who urged Ursula to take the leap that she had long dreamed of taking.
“She knew that chocolate was my passion and specialty, and she was one of the first people to push me in the direction of doing this more than on the side, that way I could do more custom work, private events and things like that. So it was serendipitous that it happened here,” Ursula says. “There’s just this call to the North Fork that really reminds me of the Barcelona feel with the vineyards, the water and the wind… Then bring that all together with the spirit of the North Fork—the collaborations, how people support each other, the ingredients, the products, the farm life, everything that grows and comes out of the cultivation and the culture of the North Fork almost embodied everything I had learned and taken from all my experiences.”
For the name of her brand, Ursula chose Disset, the Catalan word for 17, her middle name (XVII). And for her debut Signature Collection, she has curated four, nine and 17-piece assortments made from the finest Valhrona chocolate and all-natural ingredients. The $17 four-piece box of decadent bonbons features banana walnut bread, lemon meringue, raspberry black sesame and mint flavors. The $34 nine-piece assortment adds hazelnut, coconut almond and apple cider cookie, and the $59 17-piece box offers a mix of all flavors.
“Banana walnut is one of my favorite bonbons that I’ve ever created. It sounds very simple but there’s something about it, to me, that reminds me of when I first started baking before I knew this would be a career,” Ursula says, noting that despite how special it is to her, it and all the other winter 2021 flavors will disappear come summertime.
“This is really where my dream is coming true in the sense that we all love Valentine’s Day and all the holidays but those come and go, and I really wanted to curate a business model that reflected how I envision chocolate. The way we’re presenting it is almost like a fashion line, so we’ll be curating two boxes a year, and all the flavors seen in every box will be retired. We’ll never see them again, unless somebody really loves one and wants to custom order a bonbon they remember from the past. It keeps me on my toes creatively,” she says. “These are the ones that are a long time coming, that are special and true to me, so this signature collection will always be a big representation of what I might be going through that year, what I’m influenced by that year, what’s going on in the world that year, so I’m definitely very excited about that one.”
In addition to the biannual Signature Collection, Disset Chocolate will offer limited-edition holiday collections for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas and other special days. Those who are subscribed to the Disset newsletter or follow the company on Instagram will gain access to exclusive collections not available on the Disset website.
Perhaps the most unique offering Disset Chocolate offers is custom curated chocolate collaborations with local businesses. “We do custom boxes in a very fun and interactive way with any client,” Ursula explains. “We do have some of the vineyards out here that are working on this with us. It’s a fun concept where we use their product in it, we highlight it, and we really want it to be exactly how they want their product to be highlighted whether it’s a wine, flowers or even the butcher shop.” These custom boxes will be available at the businesses that commissioned them.
While Ursula is hoping to venture into a brick-and-mortar storefront in the near future, for the time being, chocolate lovers can find Disset Chocolate at popups throughout the season, as well as online, where nationwide shipping and Wednesday North Fork delivery, Orient to Riverhead, are offered. Shipping orders are sent out on Mondays to ensure that chocolates are delivered quickly and that customers get the full freshness and flavor packed into each bonbon.
“Hearing back from people that it’s amazing—all this feedback and support that we’ve been seeing—is humbling, not just rewarding,” Ursula says. “It’s touching to see in a year like this that people will go out of their comfort zone and support a brand-new brand.”
To learn more about Disset Chocolate or to place an order, visit dissetchocolate.com.