This season's chic hostess gift can be anything - anything from Neiman-Marcus, that is. Knowing that, the epicure department is fully stocked with goodies from $2.50 to $200. "Bread and butter gift, as we call them in the South," explained the department manager. Doing a little investigative nibbling, we found several that were not only packaged and priced as one would expect from Neiman-marcus, but tasted worthy of the name, as well. First, there are the Nuehaus belgian chocolates, $9 a pound, available in boxes or bulk to be packaged to order in everything from painted flower pots to porcelain. Filled with pralines pots and nut creams and raspberries and such, they are as ultimate as chocolates in Washington get. You may think you know about caramel popcorn, but you can't know what an art can be unless you've tasted N-M's almond pecan corn, a whopping $11.50 for a forty-ounce tin. The same goes for the chewy pralines, $14 for two pounds, most of that probably butter. The same proportaion of butter undoubtedly goes into the pastry butter pretzels, melt-in-your-mouth cookies ($6.50), and the brioche from New York's Voila bakery, which raisins or hazelnuts ($4). For fruitcake see the nine'ounce gold-boxed Grand Matnier fruitcake, nearly all fruit and barely a whisper of cake to it ($6.50). And then there are dry-roasted nuts, in case you don't want to cater to a sweet tooth. You might wonder how two pounds of dry-roasted mixed nuts could be worth $15. Maybe they can't, but try a nine'ounce jar ($5.20) to see for yourself that the mixture - jar almonds, pecans and cashews - tastes freshly roasted, perfectly salted and nuttier than nutty.