Alternative namesMatsoni,
Caspian Sea yoghurt
Place of originArmenia
Region or stateCaucasus
Main ingredientsMilk

Matzoon[a] (Armenian: մածուն, matsun) or matsoni[b] (Georgian: მაწონი, mats'oni) is a fermented milk product of Armenian origin,[1][2][3] distributed in Armenia[4] and Georgia.[5][6][7] The so-called Caspian Sea yogurt circulated and commercialized in Japan is sometimes said to be the same type of yogurt as matzoon,[6] but a comparison of microbiota and viscosity found that the two are entirely different.[8]


The name of the product originates from Armenian matz (sour, glue).[9] The etymology is provided by Grigor Magistros, in his Definition of grammar (11th century).[10]


The first written accounts of matzoon are attested in medieval Armenian manuscripts by Grigor Magistros (11th century), Hovhannes Erznkatsi (13th century), Grigor Tatevatsi (14th century) and others.[10][11] Matsoni is mentioned in the 15th century Georgian medical book Karabadini by Zaza Panaskerteli-Tsitsishvili.[12]

Armenian immigrants Sarkis and Rose Colombosian, who started "Colombo and Sons Creamery" in Andover, Massachusetts, in 1929,[13][14] introduced Matzoon around New England in a horse-drawn wagon inscribed with the Armenian word "madzoon," which was later changed to "yogurt", the Turkish language name of the product, as Turkish was the lingua franca between immigrants of the various Near Eastern ethnicities who were the main consumers at that time.[15]


Matzoon is made from cow's milk (mostly), goat's milk, sheep's milk, buffalo milk, or a mix of them and a culture from previous productions. Similar to yogurt it is usually made with the following lactic acid bacteria; Lactobacillus acidophilus (original only), Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus.[7] Lactococcus lactis ssp. cremoris was found to be a dominant bacterial strain producing polysaccharides that impart the characteristic high viscosity of matzoon.[8]


In Armenian cuisine, matzoon can be strained to obtain kamats matzoon. Traditionally, it was produced for long-term preservation by draining matzoon in cloth sacks. Afterwards it was stored in leather sacks or clay pots for a month or more depending on the degree of salting.[16]

Matzoon is used for the production of butter. When it is churned it separates from the buttermilk (Armenian: թան, tan). The tan can be further dried and the resulting product is known as chortan.[17]

Matzoon can be mixed with eggs and equal amounts of wheat flour and starch to produce tarhana. Small pieces of dough are dried and then kept in glass containers. They are used mostly in soups, dissolving in hot liquids.[18]


  1. ^ Also spelled matsoon, matsoun, matzoun, madzoon, madzoun, macun, matson
  2. ^ Also spelled matzoni


  1. ^ Kirk, Lawrence Eldred (1948). Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. p. 12. Matzoon or mazun, originating in Armenia. A lactobacillus (L. mazun), a streptococcus, a spore-producing bacillus and a sugar- fermenting yeast are responsible for the fermentation of this product.
  2. ^ Joseph A. Kurmann, Jeremija Lj Rašić, Manfred Kroger (1992). Encyclopedia of fermented fresh milk products: an international inventory of fermented milk, cream, buttermilk, whey, and related products. Springer. p. 212. ISBN 978-0-442-00869-7. Matzoon (En); mazun (Fr, De); matsun, matsoni, maconi. Short Description: Of Armenian origin; Georgia, Caucasus (USSR); traditional product; the milk of ewes, goats, buffalo, or cows or mixtures thereof; yoghurtlike product traditionally made from boiled milk and an undefined starter culture; firm consistency and acidic flavor. Microbiology: Traditional product made with undefined starter culture consisting of thermophilic and mesophilic lactic streptococci and thermophilic lactobacilli, and often with yeasts. Starter culture with defined microflora: proposed Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus.((cite book)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Fermented milk". Columbia Encyclopedia (6 ed.). Columbia University Press. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  4. ^ "Matzoon, mat-soon". The Encyclopedia Americana. Vol. 18. Americana Corp. 1977. p. 446. ISBN 978-0-7172-0108-2. "a milk food used in Armenia; prepared by exposing milk in open vessels to a heat of 90°F., and when coagulation takes place the curd is broken up by a churning process and salt is added".
  5. ^ Goldstein, Darra (1999). The Georgian Feast: The Vibrant Culture and Savory Food of the Republic of Georgia. University of California Press. p. 34.
  6. ^ a b Byers, Branden (2014). The Everyday Fermentation Handbook: A Real-Life Guide to Fermenting Food. p. 66. Matsoni, also known as Caspian Sea yogurt, this mesophilic yogurt comes from the region now known as Georgia
  7. ^ a b Kenji Uchida, Tadasu Urashima, Nino Chaniashvili, Ikiti Arai, Hidemasa Motoshima (2007). "Major microbiota of lactic acid bacteria from Matsoni, a traditional Georgian fermented milk". Animal Science Journal. 78: 85. doi:10.1111/j.1740-0929.2006.00409.x.((cite journal)): CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Uchida, Kenji; Akashi, Keiko; Motoshima, Hidemasa; Urashima, Tadasu; Arai, Ikichi; Saito, Tadao (2009). "Microbiota analysis of Caspian Sea yogurt, a ropy fermented milk circulated in Japan". Animal Science Journal. 80 (2): 187–192. doi:10.1111/j.1740-0929.2008.00607.x. ISSN 1344-3941. PMID 20163589.
  9. ^ Adjarian, Hrachia (1971). Armenian Etymological Dictionary. Vol. 3. Yerevan. pp. 228–29.
  10. ^ a b Nicholas Adontz, «Дионисий Фракийский и армянские толкователи.», Saint Petersburg, 1915, p. 228. "Մածուն քանզի մածեալ է, սոյնպէս և անուանի." Approximate translation: "Matzoon, since it's gluey, hence it is called so."
  11. ^ ed: A. Desnitskaya, S. Katsnelson, «История лингвистических учений. Средневековый Восток.» Archived 2013-10-23 at the Wayback Machine. "Nauka", Saint Petersburg, 1981, p. 17
  12. ^ Probiotics of Georgia and “Caucasian Longevity”
  13. ^ "Object of the Month". The Massachusetts Historical Society. June 2004.
  14. ^ "Colombo Yogurt – First U.S. Yogurt Brand – Celebrates 75 Years". Business Wire. 13 May 2004. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 25 December 2021.
  15. ^ "General Mills to discontinue producing Colombo Yogurt". Eagle-Tribune. 29 January 2010. Archived from the original on 28 May 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2010.
  16. ^ С. А. Арутюнов, Т. А. Воронина. Традиционная пища как выражение этнического самосознания, стр. 120—125. Наука, 2001 [S. A. Arutyunov, T. A. Voronina. Traditional Food as an Expression of Ethnic Self-Consciousness, pp. 120-125. Nauka publishers, 2001; in Russian]
  17. ^ "Gardens of Biodiversity. Conservation of genetic resources and their use in traditional food production systems by small farmers of the Southern Caucasus". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
  18. ^ William Pokhlyobkin (2005). "Tarkhana". Great Encyclopedia of Culinary Arts (in Russian).