|Country of origin||Canada|
|Region, town||Laurentides, Oka|
|Source of milk||Cow|
|Aging time||1-2 months|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2008)|
Oka is a semi-soft washed rind cheese that was originally manufactured by Trappist monks located in Oka, Quebec, Canada. The cheese is named after the town. It has a distinct flavour and aroma, and is still manufactured in Oka, although now by a commercial company. The rights were sold in 1996 by Les Pères Trappistes to the Agropur cooperative. It is also manufactured in Holland, Manitoba, by Trappist Monks at their monastery, which is located 8 miles southeast of Holland.
It originated in 1893. Since that time, Quebec has become a major producer of Canadian Cheese. Oka cheese has a pungent aroma and soft creamy flavour, sometimes described as nutty and fruity. The cheese, which is made from cow's milk is covered with a copper-orange, hand-washed rind. Its distinct flavour sets it apart from more common cheeses such as colby and cheddar, and does not go through a cheddaring process.
There are four types of Oka cheese, regular, classic, light and providence. 'Regular' Oka can be made from both pasteurized and raw cow's milk. It is a pressed, semi-soft cheese that is surface ripened for some 30 days. The 'Classic' is ripened for an additional month. Aging is done in refrigerated aging cellars. The cheese rounds are placed on cypress slats and the cheeses are periodically turned and hand washed in a weak brine solution. 'Providence' Oka is of a much more creamy and soft texture then either 'Classic' or 'Regular', while 'Light' is similar to 'Regular', but with a lower percentage of fat.
Oka cheese was heavily influenced by the work of the monks of the Cistercian Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac (fr. Abbaye Cistercienne d'Oka). Within a few years, through an affiliation with the Université de Montréal, the monastery created an agricultural school. Frequently called the Abbaye Notre-Dame-du-Lac, the Trappist monastery became well known for its Port-Salut cheese, made from a Breton recipe brought with them from France.
- http://www.911cheferic.net/Cheeses/oka-cheese.html, accessed Aug 22, 2009