OKA Cheese is turning 125 – A small piece of a great tradition
OKA Cheese – It may have been created more than a century ago, but today OKA cheese is still a key part of any cheese tray worth the name – a bit of everyday pleasure that really hits the spot. When you enjoy OKA cheese, you’re indulging in a culinary experience. Its 125th birthday is the perfect reason to rediscover it and fall back in love with a classic product that’s been around since 1893.
OKA cheese, the stalwart champion of the many fine cheeses produced in Quebec and one of the jewels of our gourmet heritage, has delighted generations of food lovers in Quebec and elsewhere. Behind this lovely golden wheel with its washed rind lies an entire cross-section of our history. OKA cheese is a small piece of a big tradition!
Everything started… with the Trappists
Long before it was produced by Agropur in state-of-the-art facilities on the Chemin d’Oka, in the town of Oka, OKA cheese was produced and sold in the very places where it had been invented. It was also sold in local general stores before moving onto supermarket shelves. OKA cheese is often served on special occasions, and it’s the first “real” gourmet cheese for many Quebecers.
Find out about its fascinating history in the enclosed booklet – you’ll learn that OKA cheese was created by a Trappist monk from France. It has been a classic on our tables since 1893 – and has won many prestigious awards since then.
A unique and inimitable cheese
With its fine fruity aroma featuring a hint of nuttiness and its ever-so-slightly bitter finish, OKA cheese is inimitable and timeless. And experts rank it as one of the only great truly Canadian cheeses.1
Once made with milk from the abbey farm, today OKA cheese is produced from wholesome pasteurized cow’s milk from farms in the Lower Laurentians and surrounding areas. Its cheesemaking technique is quite unique: OKA cheese is washed with a typical ripening culture which gives its rind a lovely golden hue. And its secret recipe is closely guarded by Agropur’s expert cheesemakers, who were given it by OKA’s Trappist monks – in exchange for the promise never to reveal it.
A highly-rewarded classic
Throughout its long history, OKA cheese has collected an impressive number of awards for excellence. Taking first place in the 2016 Canadian Cheese Awards and the British Empire Cheese Show the same year, OKA L’Artisan cheese also won a silver medal at the 2015 World Cheese Awards and a Caseus Prize in 2016 and 2017. More recently, OKA L’Artisan single-serving cheeses won the Best New Product Award 2018 in the snack cheese category, a prize awarded after a vote by Canadian consumers.
OKA cheese today: a classic to be rediscovered, but also a cheese that’s evolving
Though it is now produced on a larger scale in state-of-the-art facilities, OKA cheese still has the fine fresh buttery taste and nutty aroma it’s always had. The good news is that the OKA family has grown and now features OKA products to suit every occasion: OKA Regular, OKA Classique, OKA L’Artisan, OKA L’Artisan Smoke, OKA with Mushrooms, OKA Light, and OKA Raclette as well as OKA in individual portions and, most important, OKA Brother Alphonse, created in honour of the creator of this great Quebec cheese and aged for 100 days.