What A Cluster! Goo Goo, A Southern Tradition
As a Nashville native and food enthusiast, I am often asked two questions: "What is your favorite restaurant and what's something I can do that unique to Nashville? " While I'll save the restaurant response for another time, I'm here to share one of my favorite quintessential Nashville experiences, Chocolate Classes at the Goo Goo Shop.
Those of you who are unfamiliar with this classic candy may be asking "What in the world are Goo Goos?"
No, it's not just a baby's first words. But good try!
Goo Goo Clusters were created in 1912 and are the world's first ever combination candy bar. Take that Hershey's! Comprised of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and milk chocolate, it's a Southern treat all Nashvillians know about. As a little girl growing up, I'd always sneak into my grandparents' stash and steal one because they are oh so good. Needless to say, this candy is near and dear to my heart.
Goo Goos aren't what they used to be; they are so much more! Aside from offering a variety of flavors (peanut butter, original and supreme), chocolate enthusiasts can purchase Goo Goo buttons, Lil' Goos and special chef collaborations. All of your sweet dreams come true!
Let's jump into the Chocolate Classes, shall we?
This past weekend my mom and I attended the Secrets of a Goo Goo class and I can't tell you how much fun we had. If you are here visiting or perhaps you've lived here a while and want to learn a little more about this thing called a Goo Goo, this class is for you. The class was a little less than an hour long but was chock-full of delicious information.
To begin, each guest selects their station where they are given an "official" Goo Goo apron to don. After signing a waiver and going through a few basic instructions, the tasting begins! (Insert obnoxious clapping here :)
Each participant starts with four Goo Goo Buttons that are paired with wines from Tennessee's favorite wine producer, Arrington Vineyards. As a class, we sampled the wines and the buttons and discussed how the wines accentuated the flavors in each chocolate creation. Of the four, my favorite pairing was the 2015 Riesling and the Peanut Butter in Dark Chocolate button. My mom, well she has quite the sweet tooth and couldn't choose a favorite if her life depended on it. Good thing it doesn't!
After we finished this delicious tasting (don't worry, the wine continues to flow gang) we moved on to the more important thing, creating our own Goo Goo. Luckily, the instructors have taken care of all of the hard work, molding the chocolate. Between you and I, I'd have chocolate all over the place if I were left in charge of that.
Next, each participant chooses from a variety of fillings including peanut butter, salted caramel, marshmallow nougat, Oreos, sprinkles, peanuts, pecans, and pretzels, just to name a few. Students are encouraged not to choose more than three dry fillings because it can get a little tricky topping off the mold. Having a fondness for sweet and savory combinations, I selected pretzels and peanuts with peanut butter and salted caramel as the "glue" holding it all together.
As I mentioned before, these molds are VERY delicate, so I had to carefully spread the peanut butter filling at the bottom and then place my dry ingredients in next. On top, you will notice I spread the second filling, salted caramel, ensuring there was just enough room to top it off with some delicious milk chocolate.
Voila! Below you have the Blonde Voyage Nashville Goo Goo.
As if I wasn't already bouncing around the room from all of the wine and Goo Goo buttons, the instructor had one more fun exercise in store, making our own peanut butter frosting/filling and creating a brownie dessert!
I really enjoyed this because my mom and I got to work together mixing up the frosting and wow, was it ever delicious. I'm not going to give away all of the "secrets" but I will share my finished product. It's not the prettiest brownie, but it tasted damn good! And yes, I have this thing for pretzels!
What a wonderful class! I can't believe I've lived in Nashville my entire life and I am now taking one of these classes. My mom and I had the best time and enjoyed the everything from the wine and button pairing, the frosting preparation and of course sampling the fruits of our labor. A variety of classes are offered each month. If you are interested in learning more about them, click here. Your sweet tooth will thank you!
Until Next Time!