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G FORCE | ED FOX

His mark is Zorro

Ed Fox says that in order to control the quality, he only sells his chocolates online. Ed Fox says that in order to control the quality, he only sells his chocolates online. (David Kamerman/Globe Staff)
By Sheryl Julian
Globe Staff / February 4, 2009

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Ed Fox, 62, launched Marblehead-based Zorro Chocolates (zorro is fox in Spanish) about a year ago. His bars ($2.35 for 1 ounce) were available in retail stores, but he now sells online only (www.zorrochocolates.com). The new entrepreneur, a native New Yorker, was a coach in California offering positive behavior and cognitive self-development workshops "to help people achieve their goals at work and in their private lives," he says. He had also been a computer programmer. In 2002, unbearable pain and bed rest due to a slipped disk got him thinking about his own goals.

Q. This is a long way from IT.

A. For six to seven months I was bedridden, in severe pain. The only distraction I had was TV. There was a gentleman on there, Jacques Torres, making chocolates. So I asked a friend who was taking care of me to go out and get me a lot of dark chocolate. When I ate the chocolate, it made me feel much better. It didn't take the pain away, but it brought me happiness. Lying in bed would cause anyone to do a lot of soul searching. I decided to turn my life around.

Q. What's different about your bars?

A. The flavors are cooked into the chocolate. Most bars, they melt the chocolate, throw extract into it, then they temper it, run it through machines that are never touched by a hand. Anise, coffee, chai. All these spices are actually cooked, so their flavors come out and mix and join in the chocolate.

Q. Why do you only sell online?

A. If I ship directly to the customer, than I know the customer gets it fresh, and taste and flavor are at their peak.

Q. What are Zorro's bestsellers?

A. Chimayo chocolate. It's a regular poblano chili only grown in Chimayo, N.M. The earth in this area develops a chili that's mild and strong and comes to the tongue very slowly. It has healing aspects. Chimayo and fleur de sel, a salt from France. Another favorite is star anise because of delicate floral notes. Another up-and-coming favorite is what I call espresso cinnamon dreams. It's made with espresso coffee from Atomic Cafe in Beverly. I take their espresso coffee and I cook it with ground cinnamon stick with lemon. That gives you a floral note with citrus. It's like sitting down and having an espresso in Italy.

Q. Why did you move to Marblehead?

A. My wife, Rita Rivera-Fox, is writing a book with another woman who lives in Marblehead and we decided to move here.

Q. What will you give your wife for Valentine's Day?

A. I'll start off by making her breakfast in bed, with her favorite coffee. There's always chocolate around all the time. I have to fight her to stay out of the area where I'm cooking. Maybe I'll make something special out of chocolate, take a favorite design, make a mold, fill it with chocolate, and wrap it in a box. And I'll tell her I love and appreciate her.