Pralines in the Mix
A chocolatier branches out with an outer-borough mall kiosk to complement its high-end Manhattan boutiques.
Things got a lot sweeter at the Queens Center Mall when luxury Belgian chocolate purveyor Neuhaus opened a kiosk in the Elmhurst, NY mall. The kiosk offers 60 varieties of pralines—bite-sized chocolate-filled confections that are the company’s signature product. Handcrafted in Belgium, the pralines retail for $57 per pound.
In addition to the new kiosk, which is located in the outer New York City borough of Queens, Neuhaus features three high-end retail boutiques in Manhattan. It has two other retail stores in the United States—in New Jersey and Washington, D.C.
The chocolatier chose the Queens Center Mall for its reach and its retail environment. “The Queens Center Mall is one of the highest-quality and highest-trafficked malls in the U.S.,” says Caroline Vindevogel, communications manager for Neuhaus. Queens Center is the only regional mall serving the borough of Queens, which has more than 2 million residents.
Additionally, the mall provides an upscale environment. “We wanted to be present next to the other high-end brands that are already in the mall,” Vindevogel says. The kiosk is located close to several high-end retailers, including Banana Republic, Coach, Michael Kors, M.A.C and Club Monaco.
Neuhaus was founded in Brussels, Belgium, in 1857 and is credited with inventing the praline in 1912. Today, the company exports its decadent chocolates worldwide, with more than 1,000 points of sale in 40 countries.
Neuhaus’s two top-selling pralines are the Tentation, which is coated in milk chocolate and filled with freshly ground coffee-flavored ganache, and the Caprice, which features a dark chocolate coating and fresh vanilla cream filling. Other pralines include the Manon Lait, a blend of light butter cream, caramelized hazelnut pieces and milk chocolate; Manon Noir, dark chocolate mousse filling with a dark chocolate coating; and the Art Deco (dark chocolate) and Horta (milk chocolate) pralines, both of which feature almond filling and nougat pieces for a crunchy texture.
Samples are available at the kiosk. “The best way to show the quality of our products is to let the consumers taste it,” Vindevogel says. The pralines can be purchased in a variety of decorative packages, including Neuhaus’s signature, attractive Ballotin, which is available for one pound of chocolate ($57), a half-pound ($28.50) or a quarter-pound ($15). Customers can customize selections or opt for a pre-packaged gift set.