© Denzil Green
Oka, a Port-du-Salut style cheese, is a semi-firm cheese with a rind and a strong aroma. The rind can be anywhere from straw yellow to orangey-red. Inside, the cheese is a pale yellow. It comes in large rounds that weigh about 5 pounds (2.6 kg) or small ones of about 8 oz (225g.)
It is named after a village south-west of Montreal, on the north shore of the Lake of Two Mountains in Québec, Canada.
It is made from either raw or pasteurized cow’s milk.
There are two versions: the regular is aged for 30 days, classic is aged for 60 days. Both are ripened on slats of Cypress from the Carolinas in America.
This Canadian version of Port-du-Salut style cheeses doesn’t quite have the texture or the full flavour of the European originals, but it’s more affordable for Canadians owing to tariff measures levied against cheese from outside the country.
Mostly popular in the Québec province.
Wrap in tin foil, then plastic in sealable bag. Store in fridge for anywhere up to 1 to 4 weeks.
Cut off any whitish mould that forms.
Oka Cheese Box
A monastery was established at Oka by Trappist monks in the summer of 1881.
The Trappists — five of them at first — were “refugees” from France. Their former monastery, Abbaye de Bellefontaine in Bégrolles-en-Mauges, Maine-et-Loire, France had been seized by the French state in 1880 and the monks ordered to leave France.
Every Trappist Abbey had to be able to support itself. They didn’t have to be self-sufficient, as in eating only what they produced. They could buy stuff from outside sources, but they had to earn the money to do so with.
Though a monk named Alphonse Juin (1842 to 1910) is credited with the “invention” of Oka cheese, he didn’t really invent it: the Trappists sent the formula out to all their Abbeys to help them earn their living.
Juin was trained in making Port du Salut cheese; he had been making the cheese at the Port du Salut Abbey in France for 19 years. He was sent first to an Abbey in the United States, Our Lady of Gesthemani in Kentucky, where he taught them how to make Trappist cheese, which they still do themselves right at the Abbey. Juin arrived at Oka to teach them as well in February 1893.
During the Second World War, all of Oka’s cheese production was requisitioned by the Canadian army. 
Oka Cheese Unwrapped
The monks made the cheese until about 1974. At that point, they licensed the name of the cheese and the rights to make it on their behalf to a company that is now called Agropur.
Agropur’s “classic” version, aged for 60 days, is not aged as long as the monks had aged it. The factory, though, was established next to the monastery so that the monks could still check in on their cheese.
 CBC News. Monks earning top ranking for their cheese. 23 July 2000. Retrieved August 2010 from http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2000/07/23/bluechse000723.html