Oka cheese has a pungent aroma and soft creamy flavour, sometimes described as nutty and fruity. Oka is an excellent substitute for many semi-soft ripened cheeses in any dish.
There are two types of Oka cheese, ‘Regular’ and ‘Classic’. ‘Regular’ Oka can be made from both pasteurized and raw 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 washed in a weak brine solution.
Oka was produced by French Trappist monks, who created the monastery cheese Port Salut. When the monks had settled in La Trappe near Oka, Quebec, they brought their Port Salut cheese recipe from Brittany (France) and created Oka Trappist cheese.
By 1875, their cheese had become popular in Paris. When in the late 1800's, monks from this same order established a monastery at La Trappe, Québec, they brought the Port Salut recipe with them, creating their version, Oka Trappist Cheese. Today, they still oversee its production.