Region: Oka, Quebec
Texture: Semi-soft, washed rind
French Trappist monks, who settled in Brittany in 1815, created monastery cheese Port Salut. 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, near the village of Oka, they brought the Port Salut recipe with them, creating their version, Oka Trappist Cheese. Today, they still oversee its production.
Semi-soft cheeses like Oka, are surface-ripened meaning that the ripening process starts at the surface and progresses toward the interior. The cheese rounds are placed on cypress slats and the cheeses are periodically turned and washed in a weak brine solution.
Oka has a creamy off-white to yellow interior with a smooth, homogenous, flexible texture. The rind is straw to a dark orange-red colour. There are two classifications 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 18 to 21 days while the ‘Classic’ is ripened for a minimum of 60 days in refrigerated aging cellars. ‘Regular’ Oka lacks the deep, penetrating flavours of the longer-ripened ‘Classic’ Oka.
Both cheeses have a distinctively flavoured taste of the delicate subtleties of fresh, mellow nuttiness and fruitiness; it is also mellow, smooth, creamy and and buttery. It is a taste that becomes more pronounced with the passing of time. Its texture is smooth and creamy. The “Oka Classique” has a darker copper rind and a bolder flavour, well balanced and with a lovely, buttery linger.
Wine Pairing: A Pinoit Noir would accompany this cheese well.