Saturday, 5 August 2017

Oka Cheese

Oka cheese is a surface-ripened, semi-soft cheese, it has the typical orange rind and expected pungency of the washed-rind style. It’s buttery and creamy with mellow, nutty notes. It's pretty good and it's Canadian.

Not many people realize that the original recipe was made by Trappist monks in a monastery. Here is a short breakdown of Oka's history.  On an afternoon in February 1893, Brother Alphonse Juin knocked on the door of the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac (known as Oka Abbey) in Deux-Montagnes, Quebec. The monastery was struggling, unable to make ends meet, and Brother Alphonse had been sent from the Abbaye de Bellefontaine in France (the Oka monks hometown far, far, away) with a recipe for Port-du-Salut cheese that might help them. Brother Alphonse tweaked and adjusted the Port-du-Salut recipe, creating a unique Quebec cheese that was named after the village. The rhythm of cheese-making combined well with the monastic life – it allowed time in between work for prayer and the divine lectures. It was humble work that was a form of meditation and a pathway to God. Skills were passed from generation to generation.

In 1996 the Les Peres Trappists sold the rights of Oka cheese to Agropur. To this day the cheese is still made in Oka but is also made in the town of Holland in Manitoba, Canada.

What are 150 of our favourite Canadian things? Read about it here


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