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4505 Chicharones - downhill report?

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When I lived in Napa, my fiance would always stop at Fatted Calf to bring 4505 chicharones home to his kids. We all loved 'em.

During our last visit to Napa, we were very disappointed to learn that Fatted Calf isn't selling them anymore due to some FDA regulations (something along the lines that they can't sell something that doesn't have an inspector there on a daily basis to ensure, or a variation of that ilk).

So I stopped at the Ferry Plaza on Tuesday for a big bag of chicharones for the family and NONE of us could eat beyond a single bite. The 11-year old noticed they looked different from the start; less airy with more of a reflective, white sheen to them. They were rubbery, chewy, and had much less flavor.

Anyone know what is up? Has this been farmed out to some second-hand producer that isn't holding up the previous 4505 standards? It was very, very disappointing and the entire (large) bag was discarded after one bite from each of us...

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  1. I eat them often and have not noticed a problem. The last batch we bought, just last week, was fine.

    That said: I am a regular enough customer that I am probably not truly objective. The 11-year-old sometimes use them for baking projects: http://sfist.com/2013/05/24/young_gir...

    1. I have left some around the house for a long(months) time and they were somewhat as you are describing them. They did not start out like this.