Thanks to KFC and other national chain restaurants’ recent marketing initiatives, Nashville Hot Chicken has taken that step up from regional favorite to nationally embraced foodigenous. This leaves the Music City’s native candy Goo Goo Clusters as the state’s most underappreciated local specialty.
Tennesseans have been enjoying the round mounds of layered caramel, roasted peanuts and marshmallow nougat covered in milk chocolate long before Johnny Rzeznik and band were singing “I want you to know who I am”. In fact, the Standard Candy Company created Goo Goo Clusters in 1912, making it the first ever combination candy bar in the US. Before that, American candy bars were just one main ingredient usually just chocolate or caramel. If you think about it, the Goo Goo Cluster could literally say "who's your daddy" to all of the modern day bars today like Snickers, 3 Musketeers & Mars and their answer would correctly be- "you are daddy!".
While the cooking method for making Goo Goo Clusters has evolved over the years, the bar was originally hand dipped in chocolate and wrapped manually, the original recipe has never altered. The brand has added the Supreme Goo Goo Cluster, a version introduced in the 1980's simply exchanging pecans for the roasted peanuts while maintaining the ethereal quality of the candy. They also created a peanut butter and dark chocolate variety. Unfortunately, the flagship Goo Goo Shop in Nashville is currently getting a little “Botox” and is closed. As of this publication the store will continue to be shut for its' facelift through September 2021. But when they reopen, the shop is expected to offer adult activities such as whiskey pairings and boozy milkshakes, as well as kid friendly chocolate making classes. Be sure to follow their IG for updates.
As far as the name, some people think that Goo is short for Grand Ole Opry, Nashville’s famous music venue but that is just a coincidence. According to the website, the true tale is that the founder used his young son’s first words for inspiration. “Goo Goo, it’s so good people will ask for it at birth”.
Goo Goo Clusters can be shipped nationwide, visit their website to try the tasty regional candy.