Pompon blanc, bear’s head, lion’s mane, monkey’s head, old man’s beard, satyr’s beard, pom pom, yamabushi-take
(Hericium erinaceus) The pompon blac looks and feels like a powder puff crossed with mozzarella. The mushroom is a large, rounded cluster of icicle-like growths with a spongy, almost furry texture, and can be found growing wild from wounds on such hardwoods as beech, stumps, or logs. Both the cultivated and wild forms are distinct on their own, as well as from each other. Most of the mushrooms in this species are distiguished by their soft white glissade of “teeth” rather than the typical gills. The flavour can be highly variable, ranging from a taste reminiscent of lobsters or that suggesting artichokes with a yeasty and bubbly tofu-like texture to an inedible, bitter, wet and nasty affair. In the 1980s when Gourmet Mushrooms of Sebastopol first introduced it, long-time chef, Jacky Robert of Maison Robert in Boston, is credited with giving it its name.
You can see Jacky Robert”s impressive resumé on this website.