Gilt Taste, the latest venture from online fashion retailer Gilt Groupe, has launched a beta version of its culinary magazine and specialty food market.  Gilt Taste appeals to the upscale, literary foodie; offering thoughtful articles along with its online marketplace, which features a sophisticated selection of artisanal meat, seafood, cheese & dairy, produce, sweets, kitchen equipment and luxury pantry items - all provided by sustainably-minded boutique suppliers; some (like Murray's Cheese) with established brand recognition.  

Highlights from the currently live marketplace include the American Paddlefish Celebration Package, which bundles the briny California caviar with French blinis, Bellwether Farms' crème frâiche and mother of pearl spoons; an assortment of Afghani side dishes from Bolani East and West; and adorable, ladybug-inspired ganache from Philadalphia husband & wife chocolatiers John and Kira.

Ruth Reichl, former New York Times food critic and Gilt Taste's Editoral Advisor, describes the magazine in her welcome statement as a radical venture. On one hand it's a showcase for the artisanal products that talented bakers, butchers, candy and cheese-makers are now crafting all over the country. It's a place to meet a new generation of farmers, the men and women who are tilling the land in sustainable ways, saving seeds and raising happy animals. It is a celebration of food, mostly American... [but] we don't just want to sell you great products-we want to tell you the stories of the people who create them and inspire you with delicious new ways to use them.

Among these stories is an investigative piece about the potential impact that fracking - the controversial gas-drilling practice - could have on the food supply. On a lighter note, you will find a story about cooking broccoli stalks Iron Chef style and a recipe for Salt and Sugar-cured asparagus.

Gilt Taste is supported solely by sales; there is no advertising on the site. A recent IBTimes article discussed the valuation of Gilt Groupe, Inc. after a considerable infusion of capital from outside investors.