A HIDDEN gem in Dunfermline is serving up some of the best bread in Fife – and it might just be one of the city’s best kept secrets.

Eva Jedrzejak, 40, and her partner Javier Marcos, 37, opened Cukie Patisserie in December 2021, having lost their jobs during the pandemic.

They run the tiny cafe within Pitreavie Business Park alongside their 17-year-old daughter, Laura.

The eatery was handed the Best in the Region Gold Award for their Farmer Loaf in the Bread (Sourdough) category at this year’s Scottish Baker of the Year Awards, having previously earned gold and silver accolades in the Scottish Bread Championships.

Eva started baking sourdough and farmer loafs when the patisserie opened and she soon realised that ordering in was not going to work.

Since then she has meticulously crafted her own recipes for Cukie’s signature offerings.

Javier said: “In the beginning we thought about buying bread from another person but when the other person brought the bread for the first time we thought we didn’t like it.

“It was one or two months of trying before we had a proper bread we could sell.”

Eva added: “In Edinburgh there are a lot of bakeries who make their own bread, we knew what we wanted.

“I was working in a bakery but I didn’t make bread, I was a pastry chef.

“Every day you learn something new, you never stop.”

The couple met in Javier’s native Spain after Eva moved from Poland when she was just 14.

Having trained in interior design and as a lighting designer, Javier decided to make the move to London to find work.

He was shortly joined by Eva and Laura after he transferred to Edinburgh in 2016.

They lived in the capital for nearly two years before making their home in Dunfermline.

The family’s aim is to create a calm, welcoming environment which offers fresh and handmade pastries and other treats.

Javier said: “We had a cafe and bakery in Madrid, a very small one, similar to this but smaller.

“In Spain it is not the best place to open something like this.

“Working in the cafe you can connect with people, I was working in an office and my only communication was with my boss.

“Now I can speak with much more people and improve my English! I can even feel more integrated in the culture.”

Having learned to bake from her mother, Eva continued the family tradition and the pair soon found themselves touring Fife’s farmer’s markets.

It was during that time that they met many of the suppliers they now stock at their cafe.

Eva said: “We wanted to try to bring something different to Dunfermline. We bake everything from scratch here, we support other local producers.

“Kombucha we have from Fife, coffee is from Fife, the jam is from Dunfermline, even the eggs we go to the farm. We met a lot of people in markets so we brought their products here.”

Javier added: “We try to be a space for other companies, it’s not always possible but we try.

“We have a clear idea and concept of something more artisan, more slow, for the coffee I take my time because I want it to be right.

“It’s slow, but it’s good. The sandwiches and everything are made on demand, the final product is tasty, it’s nice, we try to make everything like you would make at home, or in old-school bakers.”

Eva regularly starts her day in the early morning to prepare food for the cafe and prides herself in using local ingredients and making everything by hand, all the way down to her own pistachio paste.

Her favourite bake? Cinnamon buns and Swedish and Scandinavian-inspired treats.

“We want to share this love for bread and pastries, good quality products,” she said.

“We want to give people good products like their grandmothers would make.

“And make it a little bit healthier! We don’t use colours, nothing artificial, everything is natural.

“We try to find what we can locally, if we can’t then in Scotland, if not then in the UK, and then in Europe.”

Next up for the couple is improving the Cukie Patisserie website and adding UK-wide delivery options.

They also hope to be able to provide other businesses in the area with their bakes.

Though, for now, Eva, Javier and Laura are happy where they are.

Javier said: “It’s time consuming, but it’s worth it, if we can change to something more it would be nice, but this is dreaming and thinking big.”