Oka cheese

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Oka Cheese
Country of origin Canada
Region, town Laurentians (Laurentides in French), Oka
Source of milk Cow
Pasteurised Sometimes
Texture semi-soft/creamy
Aging time 1-2 months
Certification -

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 recipe was sold in 1981 by Les Pères Trappistes to the Agropur cooperative.[1] It is also manufactured by Trappist Monks at the Our Lady of the Prairies Monastery, located 8 miles southeast of Holland, Manitoba.

Brother Alphonse Juin arrived at the Notre-Dame du Lac Monastery in Quebec in 1893 with a recipe for Port-du-Salut cheese. He "tweaked and adjusted" the recipe, and Oka was born.[1] 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.[2] 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:[2]

  • Regular can be made from both pasteurised and raw cow's milk. It is ripened for four weeks.
  • Classic is unpasteurized and ripened for two months.
  • Providence is of a much more creamy and soft texture than either 'Classic' or 'Regular'.
  • Light is similar to 'Regular', but with a lower percentage of fat and always pasteurized.


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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Riedl, Sue (2012-01-31). "Oka: the making of a Canadian classic". The Globe and Mail. Toronto: The Globe and Mail Inc. Retrieved 2018-01-25. 
  2. ^ a b Food Network Canada Editors (2011-03-28). "Oka". Food Network Canada. Corus Entertainment Inc. Retrieved 2018-01-25.