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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final Postcard: Nashville

NHL.com Editor-in-Chief Bill Price discovers Goo Goos

by Bill Price @BillPriceNHL / NHL.com Editor-in-Chief

NASHVILLE -- Over the course of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one thing has become abundantly clear: The NHL.com writing staff likes to eat. A lot.

From pizza in Pittsburgh to redneck lo mein in Nashville, there have been an awful lot of postcards sent home about dinner.

But what about dessert?

What better way to follow up some barbeque than with some down-home, good old-fashioned country sugar?

With that in mind, I braved the CMA Fan Fair crowd and the usual downtown mayhem on Saturday afternoon to hit the Goo Goo Shop on 3rd Avenue.

After the two-block walk from Bridgestone Arena, I felt like my nostrils would never shake the smell of grilled beef and stale beer that filled the Nashville air. But the second I walked into the store, that beautiful smell of chocolate took control.

Everywhere I looked in the store was some form of Goo Goo. Goo Goo T-shirts, Goo Goo coffee mugs, Goo Goo accessories. I think there may have even been a Goo Goo Doll.

The main attraction is the Original Goo Goo Cluster, a 1.75-ounce, 240-calorie handful of heaven that mixes milk chocolate, caramel, nougat, marshmallow and peanuts.

There is also the Supreme Cluster, which has pecans instead of peanuts, and the Peanut Butter Cluster.

Jesse Frederick, 20, who has worked in the store for 2 ½ years and is a walking, talking Goo Goo Cluster encyclopedia, said first-timers like myself should start with the Original and work their way up.

"If you never had a Goo Goo, get the Original. It will get you on board," said Frederick. "I recommend all three, but everyone needs to find their own favorite."

Frederick said the Goo Goo Clusters have been a Nashville staple since they were first made in 1912.

"It's part of our history," Frederick said.

In the middle of the store is the dessert bar -- as if I needed to gain any more pounds on this trip - and in the back was the kitchen where I assumed Goo Goos were being made. I was right, sort of.

While the regular Goo Goo Clusters are made about 10 miles from downtown, the kitchen in the shop makes different varieties of the Goo Goo Supreme, which weighs in at four ounces.

"They look like hockey pucks," Frederick said.

The premium Goo Goos, handmade in the shop, are loaded with goodies. For example, the Campfire Cowboy has dark chocolate ganache, smoked sea salted caramel, graham crackers and roasted house-made Kentucky Bourbon marshmallow in milk chocolate.

Frederick says a premium called the Swanson is in the works. The main ingredient: Bourbon bacon. Breakfast and dessert all in one meal.

That will certainly be a hit in this pork-obsessed town, but the Goo Goo is already rather popular.

Before Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, NBC play-by-play man Doc Emrick held up a Goo Goo Cluster on television. Frederick said the candy has been mentioned in two episodes of "The Walking Dead" and country music star Keith Urban wore a Goo Goo Cluster T-shirt on an episode of "American Idol."

Frederick said the store has about 1,500-2,000 visitors a day. He said more customers came in after the Emrick cameo and that Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has been in the store. Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota also visited to get the black and white milkshake - a vanilla shake with hot fudge -- sold at the dessert bar.

Knowing my hard-working crew had gone at least 90 minutes without a meal and had yet to experience the Goo Goo Cluster, I brought a 12-pack back to media room at the arena -- and premium for my kids back home.

Goo Goos for everyone. Only in Nashville.

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