Let's face it: all candy bars are not created equal. We're pretty big fans of most of 'em, but there's only one bar — or cluster, if we're being technical — that we'll truly go ga-ga over. And that, ladies and the gentlemen, is our beloved Goo Goo.
Before the Goo Goo Cluster was invented, candy bars tended to be consist of one main ingredient. Chocolate bars, marshmallows and hand-wrapped caramels were all popular items, but no one had ever thought to mix those ingredients into a single bar. That all changed in 1912, when two confectionary cooks at Nashville's own Standard Candy Company used a copper kettle to whip up a combination of marshmallow nougat, caramel and freshly roasted peanuts. They arranged the ingredients in layers and covered the whole thing in real milk chocolate. Needless to say, the result tasted pretty damn good. (Pardon our French.)
One of the cooks, Howell Campbell, Sr., had a newborn baby at home. It only seemed fitting to name the new candy creation after the gurgling noises his child liked to make. (Which really aren’t too much of a departure from the noises we make when we devour the decadent goodness.) The Goo Goo Cluster was thus invented. Originally, the clusters were hand-dipped and sold without wrappers in local candy stores. As the years went by and the food industry became more concerned about hygiene, the clusters were wrapped… which also allowed them to be shipped to other states. Suddenly, country music wasn't Nashville's only export.
These days, the Goo Goo Cluster can be found all over the world. Much of the company's business is still local, though, thanks to a handful of Nashville chefs who continue to whip up desserts using the Goo Goo as a chief ingredient. Since dessert menus tend to change on the regs in these parts, we can't provide you with a list of restaurants currently serving a gloriously Clustered sweet… but we can list some of our favorites for desserts past. Call your favorite restaurant listed below, request they bring back their Goo Goo-laden creation and chow down like it's 1912 all over again.
Goo Goo Cluster Chocolate Layer Cake
A chocolate cake filled with Goo Goo Clusters, layered with caramel buttercream and topped with a combination of dark chocolate, marshmallow fluff and peanut brittle. We'd like to have this cake and eat it, too, please.
Goo Goo Milkshake
What's better than the Pharmacy's lineup of house made milkshakes, made with scoops of local Pied Piper ice cream? The seldom-available (but perennially awesome) Goo Goo shake, with blows its chocolate and vanilla cousins out of the water. It's just what the doctor ordered.
The Loveless Cafe
Goo Goo Cluster Pie
Two Nashville institutions collide in this sugary salute to our taste buds. This Goo-covered pie tastes best when consumed into the Loveless Cafe's old-school dining room, but you can make it at home, too, thanks to the recipe provided above. (Just be sure to invite us, ok?)
Riffs Fine Street Food
Goo Goo Cluster Supreme Biscuit Pudding
Flag down this food truck if you see it rolling past your house. Why? Because they whip up their homemade biscuit pudding with chunks of Cluster Supreme, which is supremely awesome.
Bourbon-Vanilla Goo Goo Cluster Gelato
The Goo Goo Cluster gets the fancy treatment at Watermark, whose chefs have been known to occasionally whip cream, Clusters and other top-secret ingredients into bowls of scratch-made gelato. Served with a black sesame wafer, it's a high-class makeover for a high-taste candy bar.