a* pour toi, French for “a present for you,” is a curated epicurean gift experience offering chic, high-quality gourmet gift boxes full of luxury food items from French chefs and discerning US producers. A former Parisian and current Angeleno by way of London, Milan, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and San Francisco, the worldly Julie Hasson held top executive positions at Estee Lauder and L’Oreal Paris before founding this elegant new business.
I recently met with the glamorous Hasson at West Hollywood’s Soho House to discuss her enterprise. She confided that a* pour toi is the culmination of a dream. Its inspiration lies in her relationships with loved ones, and the joy she takes in giving gifts to her family and friends.
“Since I was very young, I’ve traveled and lived in different parts of the world. During this time, I missed my family, my friends, and my partners, and wanted to show them how I was thinking about them. The idea of a* pour toi came from this, which has manifested in this simple solution: gifting with care and elegance.”
Delectable food and flavors have always been of paramount importance to Hasson: “I spent my childhood building my ‘memory of taste’ in my grandparents’ beautiful vegetable garden in the center of France.”
While Hasson is slim, she believes that food should be a pleasure, and small indulgences — such as high-quality cookies made with real butter and imported from France — enhance our lives. “They are full of life and delicious moments,” she says of her unique creations. “All my life, I’ve wanted to nourish with beauty.”
In her quest for the very most delicious, high-quality gourmet pleasures, Hasson sampled over 3000 items. She offers about a dozen different gift boxes that are available for both special occasions or on monthly, subscription-type basis. Choices include boxes specializing in French tea and coffee, gluten free, chic and chocolate, lactose free, and French delicatessen treats.
Hasson presented me with the Elegance gift box to taste. Chicly packaged in a sleek, reusable box, the Elegance box’s contents change every month. My Elegance box had delectable shortbread cookies called Saint Aubert Palet Bretons. Hasson confided, “These are the cookies French schoolchildren adore.”
Other curated items included creamy raspberry caramels from a US-based French chef, Saint Aubert Shortbread Biscuits with Raspberry Filling, San Franola’s all-natural hand-roasted granola, and hazelnuts enrobed in milk chocolate. Choosing a favorite was almost impossible, but Almondina almond biscuits — a biscotti-like treat made with almonds and raisins and a light coating of yogurt — rank near the top, as do Calissons d’Aix: tiny, exquisite confections with almond paste, orange peel, and candied melon. a*pour toi’s unique gifting with a French accent is available online.