Matzoon or Matsoni is a type of fermented milk food that is very similar to yogurt, found in the Caucasian cuisine. Thus, it can be mainly found in Armenia, but also in Georgia, Armenians loving to consume this particular type of yogurt. Matzoon is mainly made out of cow’s milk, but other varieties of milk as also used, such as sheep, goat, buffalo, or even a mix of several types of milk, producing Matzoon by using cultures from previous batches. When it comes to its production, several types of bacteria are used, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, the lactic acid bacteria Streptococcus thermophilus, and Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus.
An interesting fact can be found in the name of this fermented milk product, as Matzoon comes from the Armenian word “matz”, which means “glue” or “sour”. In Georgia, Matzoon was used not just as food, as it was also used as a treatment for various health conditions approximately 5 centuries ago, such as illnesses of the gastrointestinal tract, diseases of the liver, and even skin problems, under the form of compresses. Mentioned by the medieval writers in Armenia in their writings, Matzoon was considered to be the best ailment to restore intestinal flora, remove negative bacteria that live in the gut, and increase appetite.
The truth is that a type of fermented food that can be prepared so easily is packed with precious nutrients and vitamins. Matzoon can provide vitamins A, B, and D, plus proteins, amino acids, and several minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium. If one has an issue with his or her intestinal microflora, consuming Matzoon will immediately restore the number of good bacteria in the digestive system, which means that Matzoon is a type of food that should be present in our diet in a daily basis.
As mentioned before, Matzoon is made in Armenia and Georgia alike, although there are a few differences between the recipes used by these two countries. In Armenia, original Matzoon goes by the name of sour Matzon and it is made Lactobacillus acidophilus, as it is the only type of yogurt that can promote the recovery of intestinal bacteria; there is also sweet Matzoon, made with Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, consumed for its pleasant taste. In Georgia, the making of Matzoon switched from using Lactobacillus acidophilus to Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus, a bacteria mainly used for making yogurt, and Streptococcus thermophilus, used for the making of kefir.
This change occurred due to the fact that the process is easier with the later types of bacteria, instead of using Lactobacillus acidophilus.
Armenians make yogurt by using previous batches of yogurt, as they have all the bacteria they need there. But, if you want to prepare
Matzoon at home, you can do so by using plain Greek yogurt. You will also need 1 liter of whole milk as well, and a good dose of patience. Bring the milk to a boil then allow it to cool down until it reaches 40°C. Then take 100 or 200 ml of yogurt and gradually mix it with the milk while it is warm enough. Cover the container where the milk it with a towel and wrap it in a blanket and store it somewhere warm for 6 to 8 hours. In order to see if the product is ready, just take the towel off the container and gently tilt it to one side. If the content acts as a whole mass with a jelly-like structure, then your Matzoon is ready. Put it in the fridge for 1 hour and get ready to enjoy your first spoon of homemade Matzoon.